Many have been wondering what’s up avec des gilets jaunes.
DbT‘s editor is the farthest thing from an expert on French society, and has not set foot on French soil since 1987.
Nevertheless, since the automobile and its French accoutrements play such a central role in the thing, DbT hereby offers its official guess:
The Yellow Jacket movement is a rightist version of #Occupy.
Marine Le Pen is a big fan of the phenomenon, and is trying to ride its energy into new elections.
Meanwhile, the thing, like #Occupy, has neither leaders nor a coherent agenda, and is fueled by Twitter storms and pose-striking. Hence, it won’t last, and will have little effect.
None of which is to excuse Macron, who is a yuppie dunce bent on repackaging dangerous (witness the neo-fascist tendencies afoot) Reaganite dogmas.
Trying to sustain an automobile-centered way of life, however, is a losing gambit, in any form. Capitalism’s #1 machine is simply unsustainable under the given laws of physics, which are rather strict.
Per the WHO, via Harper’s magazine:
Number of deaths in traffic accidents for every 100,000 vehicles on the road in developed nations : 11
In Ethiopia : 3,865
As he continues his efforts to inherit a good planet, Mitt Romney has apparently been caught on video talking to some of his rich sponsors. In it, Romney not only makes some hilariously deluded attempts to flatter his backers on the topic of who benefits from government spending, but also calls peace in the Middle East “almost unthinkable.”
“You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem,” says Romney. “There’s just no way….We sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field.”
As the late, great John Kenneth Galbraith argued, this is more evidence that Republicans are more honest that Democrats. Romney’s admissions are an acknowledgment of the sacrosanct status of one of the primary tenets of mainstream politics in corporate capitalist/cars-first America: U.S. promotion of chaos in the region that sits atop “our oil.”
Peace in the Middle East would quickly lead to the ultimate anathema for the U.S. overclass: Rational regional politics. The obvious first topic there: Who owns the oil?
Such questions are verboten, with guns.
For any true American nationalist, this aspect of foreign policy would be massively enraging, as it shows the world’s mightiest armed force professing its own impotence to compel a simple outcome it publicly professes to desire on powers that are utterly small, exquisitely fragile, and on our payroll.
Of course, as Romney’s little chat reveals, the truth is that the United States will brook no serious talk of peace and democracy in such a vital region.
In more extremely predictable but also extremely relevant news, it turns out that the “emirs” who run the United Arab Emirates and make those lovely sweetheart deals with international capitalists are hiring our old friend Blackwater to build them an army of international mercenaries.
The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.
The U.A.E.’s rulers, [view] their own military as inadequate [read: unreliable].
The training camp, located on a sprawling Emirati base called Zayed Military City, is hidden behind concrete walls laced with barbed wire. Photographs show rows of identical yellow temporary buildings, used for barracks and mess halls, and a motor pool, which houses Humvees and fuel trucks. The Colombians, along with South African and other foreign troops, are trained by retired American soldiers and veterans of the German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion.
American officials indicated that the battalion program had some support in Washington.
“The gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help,” said one Obama administration official who knew of the operation. “They might want to show that they are not to be messed with.” [Source: The New York Times, May 15, 2011]
This is the kind of stuff we are up against. One wonders how effective unpublicized special pleading for somewhat different statistics will be against such forces….